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Words Dove / Photo Raandu Avion (R.I.P.)



Greatest Southern Artists of all Time


Juvenile f/ Lil Wayne “Run For It” 400 Degreez 1998 Even though some people might have mistaken the hook for “Run Forrest, run,” it was Lil Wayne’s remarkable cameo that earned him a strong buzz. Lil Wayne “The Block is Hot” The Block is Hot 1999 The title track from the 16-year-old’s first solo album brought him to the forefront of Southern lyricists. Critics took notice of his abilities. Lil Wayne “Get Off the Corner” Lights Out 2000 Still a teen, the bouncing cadence of Lil Wayne’s rhymes solidified his star potential. Lil Wayne “Way of Life” 500 Degreez 2002 Setting aside some of his youthful angst for a grown and sexy vibe, Wayen teamed up with the Big Tymers and R&B pretty boy TQ for this upbeat radio favorite. Lil Wayne “Go DJ” Tha Carter 2004 The title track from the 16-year-old’s first solo album brought him to the forefront of Southern lyricists. Critics took notice of his abilities.


il Wayne is a rare find in hip-hop - a child prodigy who has maintained his success into adulthood. At eleven years old, he became the youngest artist on the New Orleansbased Cash Money Records, owned by brothers Brian “Baby” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams. His articulate rapid-fire flow and exuberant personality set him apart from the pack of emerging Southern artists in the early 90s, and he received accolades for his lyrical gifts from the time he spit his first verse. Still going through puberty, he made his recording debut on B.G.’s first EP, True Story, in 1993, ripping the mic with a ferocity that earned him instant respect. He appeared again on the 1997 Hot Boys album Get It How U Live It, and enjoyed the independent success that followed. The Hot Boys crew consisted of Lil Wayne, Juvenile, B.G., and Young Turk. They pushed over 400,000 copies without any national promotion, putting Cash Money in a position to barter a major distribution deal with Universal Records under the guidance of independent consultant Wendy Day. In 1998, Wayne sparked lyrical fire once again on the album How You Love That, a project put out by the duo of Baby and Slim who dubbed themselves the Big Tymers. With his popularity growing in the Southern underground scene, it was the 1999 release of the Hot Boys second album, Guerilla Warfare, that brought Lil Wayne national attention. The Hot Boys reached the Top 5 on the Billboard Album charts. Cash Money dropped two more releases back-to-back in the first half of 1999, Juvenile’s 400 Degreez and B.G.’s Chopper City in the Ghetto. All eyes were on the Magnolia Ward clique. Sadly, while Wayne was awaiting his big break on the solo tip, his father was shot and killed in a robbery. Instead of letting it slow him down, Wayne dug in his heels and poured his focus into the music. Lil Wayne released his solo debut, Tha Block is Hot, in 1999. He was only 16 years old at the time. It sold over a quarter-million copies in the first week and debuted at number three on



the charts. The title track “Tha Block is Hot” was a fan favorite, and people were buzzing about the teenage sensation as his album went on to achieve platinum status. The track “Fuck The World” was dedicated to his deceased father, and the world soon found out that young Wayne was already a father himself. Despite his personal setbacks and life changes, he was recognized for his talent and received a Source Award nomination for Best New Artist. The Hot Boys were awarded Group of the Year at the same ceremony. Wayne’s sophomore effort, Lights Out, was released in 2000. Shortly thereafter, the Hot Boys were disbanded as Juvenile, B.G. and Turk all left the Cash Money roster, claiming financial mismanagement. In 2002 Wayne dropped 500 Degreez, an aggressive assortment of songs that went over well with fans. He went on to exchange back-and-forth lyrical barbs with former labelmate Juvenile. Maturity won out in the end and both men ceased their lyrical fire. Juvenile later came back to Cash Money for a brief time, but things were never quite the same as they had been in the beginning. Following the path of Cash Money moguls Baby and Slim, Wayne started up his own entertainment company, Young Money Records. He began working with some up-and-coming talent, breaking them on mixtapes and doing some freestyles himself, while steadily working on his own fourth solo album. Wayne’s advice to his artists and anyone coming up in the game is simple: “Keep your head up, and keep your eyes on your paper. That’s the only thing I’ve done, and I’m still here,” he asserts. “I’m here in a great position, so if you’re trying to be where I’m at or anywhere close to it, that’s what I did.” When The Carter was released in 2004, Wayne had finally reached his 21st birthday. His first single “Go DJ” customarily went straight to the top of the charts. He cites the album as his biggest career highlight thus far, and has received praise across the board from critics and fans alike for his consistency and growth on the project. He plans to branch out into other en-

trepreneurial endeavors, but music will always be at the forefront of his being. Wayne also aims to become a well-rounded individual, not just a rapper. He’s currently attending college in Houston, studying Psychology. “I feel like I know everything there is to know about rap,” he explains. “I know what to say, when to say it, how to say it, how every beat should sound. Now I wanna know everything there is to know about something else. I don’t wanna be thirty years old and just know about rap. I wanna be able to talk to somebody; sit down and have an hour long conversation about something besides rap.” Near the end of 2004 when Jay-Z announced his new position as President of Def Jam Records, Lil Wayne stirred up the rumor mill by announcing that he was considering signing with Def Jam. Def Jam’s interest prompted a bidding war between several major labels. Ultimately, it seems that Lil Wayne will remain on Cash Money Records with Baby, who he now refers to as his “pa.” As the only remaining member of the Hot Boys on Cash Money Records, Wayne is left to carry on the legacy. Although they’re no longer on the same label, fans still hope to see a Lil Wayne/Juvenile/B.G./Turk reunion someday. A promoter in Tampa, Florida boldly brought Lil Wayne and B.G. both to perform on the same night, and things ended on a positive note as the two reunited on stage to the crowd’s delight. At a time when most MCs are just getting started in the music business, Lil Wayne is already a seasoned vet in every aspect of the game. Regardless of his acquired business acumen, he wants people to reflect on and relate to his art at the end of the day. “When somebody cuts on a song from me, I want them to be able to feel everything I’m talking about,” explains Wayne. “Even if they like it or don’t like it, I want them to know exactly what I’m talking about. That’s my main goal right there. If you know what I’m talking about then you know me, because that’s what my music does - it reflects me.”

Profile for Ozone Magazine Inc

Ozone Mag #33 - Apr 2005  

Ozone Mag #33 - Apr 2005

Ozone Mag #33 - Apr 2005  

Ozone Mag #33 - Apr 2005

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